how to reconcile wearing a mask and ecology?

As we can imagine, wearing a mandatory mask is not the best thing that has happened to the planet. Surgical masks, for example, should only be used once. So that makes a lot of waste, and some end up in the wild.

Already at the end of May, an association warned about the number of masks found in the Mediterranean. As a reminder, throwing your mask in nature can be worth you a fine of 135 euros.

But even if it is not very green, it is necessary to wear the mask to limit the epidemic of coronavirus. Fortunately, a few solutions exist to limit the damage. The first one ? Favor the reusable mask.

The advantage of the washable and reusable mask is that you won’t throw it away after four hours. You can favor masks that last the longest looking at the number of washes that your mask can endure before you buy it.

Recycle surgical masks?

Once the mask is purchased, you must also wash it because at 60 ° C and dry it. You will therefore consume water and electricity. However, do not try to wash it less often than expected: it will simply make it unnecessary. To limit your consumption, you can wash your mask and let it air dry, rather than a tumble dryer or hair dryer. And have several, to alternate and do less laundry.

If you are using surgical masks, you can also try to recycle them. A few initiatives existent, especially in the North and in Vienne. The masks are decontaminated and reused to make other things: visors, fasteners for the masks, packaging …

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A team of researchers from CNRS, INSERM, and the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique is trying to decontaminate the masks so that they can be reused as they are, but the technique is not yet developed.

Finally, there is also ecological alternatives to the usual masks. In Yonne, for example, a company has developed a hemp-based mask, which can be put in the compost. Another, in Bayonne, created a mask in recycled cork and leather. Michelin has also developed a 100 times reusable mask. Finally, in Switzerland, engineers are working on a prototype mask 99% biodegradable polymer.

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